Stuck at Home With the Kids? Here’s What to Do

If I’m right, America’s about to play a whole lot of catch up. Italy and Spain just announced a nationwide lockdown and I expect other European nations to follow suit in the coming days. I don’t think America’s too far behind. This morning NY and LA announced the closing of all entertainment venues. That on top of schools being closed will cause an incredible disruption in people’s daily lives. And that’s just for starters.

People will have to face the fact that they may get stuck at home with the kids for an extended period. It’s like summer vacation, without being able to go outside much. Not good. A very real question people need to start ask themselves is “What are we going to do with all that time?”

Over here in Japan, the prime minister made the decision to close the schools two weeks ago. Soon after some companies started asking employees to work from home. My wife is one of them.

Normally my son would be at school, my wife would head into the city for work early and the house would be all to myself. No longer. Aside for me heading over to my office a few times a week, it’s the three Musketeers all the time.

Not having to go to work or school sounds good, but the novelty soon wears off especially if your travel is limited. As such, we need to put all that extra time to good use.

Here are a few ideas that we’ve implemented to keep from going insane and making sure our son doesn’t fall behind in his studies.

1. Learn a language

My 11-year-old son attends Japanese school, and while he enjoys watching the newest TV shows (The Rookie is his favorite) and movies (thank you Netflix), his reading ability has lagged. I didn’t want to overload him as he was already doing two martial arts, attending cram school and went to swimming school five times a week. But the break has given me the chance to boost his reading skills. My goal is to take him from a basic reader to being able to read Harry Potter in less than a month. If you can’t speak a foreign language, no problem – Udemy has a ton of courses on offer for next to nothing.

2. A Basic Exercise Program

Thank goodness for YouTube. Whether you are looking for a workout regiment or a yoga series, YouTube has got you covered. As our normal routines have been disrupted, we need to make sure we don’t pack on the pounds.

3. Hone a Skill

The one quote I say to my son more than any other is Jim Rohn’s “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.” Now’s our chance. Humans are resourceful and have overcome scarier diseases than Covid-19. Once life returns to normal, we’ll notice a difference in how people utilized their time. There will be those who tackle Ben Franklin’s trifecta – “healthy, wealthy and wise,” and come back even stronger than before. Perhaps you could build a new house for your beloved cat. Or maybe you’d like to boost your reading speed. Take this opportunity to improve yourself. You’ll thank yourself later.

4. Read a Good Book

There’s only so much TV one can watch. It’s a perfect time to read some great books and keep your mind off all the negativity we see on the news. While I love reading books such as Scientific Marketing or The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, sometimes a good novel is just what we need. Here are a few worth picking up:

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (10x better than the movie)
Influx by Daniel Suarez
Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
The Martian by Andy Weir
A Twist in the Tale by Jeffrey Archer
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall
Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

5. Marie Kondo It

How many times have we put off cleaning the garage or rearranging the attic because we didn’t have the time? Well, no longer. Quiet time can drag. It’s important we have a variety of activities to keep us busy, and those that have a positive impact on our lives are even better.

The truth is none of us knows what lies ahead. All we can do is take it one day at a time. I’m going to take advantage of this situation to help my son get ready for the next few years. I continue to hone my skills as a productivity consultant and writer.

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